The Presiding Judge, Yenagoa Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Bashar Alkali has ordered the Federal University of Otuoke to pay Dr Evans Eze the sum of N7, 723, 447. 00 (Seven Million, Seven Hundred and Twenty-Three Thousand, Four Hundred and Forty-Seven Naira) only being his Earned Income Allowance for Excess Workload for 2012/2013, 2013/2014, 2014/2015, 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 Academic Sessions recently approved and paid by the Federal Government.
The Court held that not being a member of ASUU cannot be a premise to disqualify Dr Evans Eze from claiming his Earned Excess Workload Allowances and by virtue of the Exhibit tendered, UNIBEN and ABU, Zaria that do not have ASUU branch in their universities still benefited from the Earned Excess Workload Allowances.
Justice Alkali awarded the sum of N2, 000,000.00 (Two Million Naira) only being general damages against the Federal University of Otuoke for unlawfully withholding Dr Evans Eze’s earned Allowance, and awarded 30% interest per annum on the sum owed from October 2019 until the debt is liquidated with the sum of N300, 000. 00 cost of action.
From facts, the claimant- Dr Evans Eze had submitted that the Federal University of Otuoke has paid other Lecturers backlog of the Excess Workload Allowance but refused to pay his accrued Allowances, and all efforts to get his entitlements were to no avail.
In defense, the Federal University of Otuoke maintained that Dr Evans Eze not being a member of ASUU or any of the Associations and is not a party to the agreement and not entitled to the payment.
The University averred that those who had worked for the allowances and had their forms processed and certified by their respective Head of Department, Academic Allowance Committee and the receiving authority of the Institution have been paid, and urged the Court to dismiss the case in its entirety.
In opposition, the Dr Eze’s counsel, C.E. Onyebukwa Esq submitted that his client is entitled to his wages whether or not a Trade Union had agitated for its payment. The counsel maintained that Dr. Eze remains a member of ASUU having fulfilled her financial obligations to the Union, and urged the Court to grant the reliefs sought.
Delivering judgement after careful evaluation of the submission of both parties, the presiding Judge, Hon Justice Bashar Alkali held that the evidence tendered confirmed and authenticated that Dr Evans Eze took an excess workload of courses which entitled him to the Earned Excess Workload Allowances for 2012/2013, 2013/2014, 2014/2015, 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 academic sessions.
The Court stressed the Federal University of Otuoke, being an academic institution cannot function without staff who will put its functions into effect, and that Dr Evans Eze is an employee of the University, not ASUU.
The Court described the action of the Federal University Otuoke that having used Dr Evans Eze to work, and collected his entitlement from the Federal Government but turned around to deny him his hard-earned entitlement as despicable and the height of wickedness and clannishness.
“All terms of this judgment are to be complied with within 30 days from today.” The Court ruled.